Our list pinpoints 100 individuals who have a key influence on those decisions – who is shaping the way our wine shops and aisles look, and what consumers ask for when they come into them.
For the past three years Off Licence News has published a list of the Top 75 Most Influential People In Wine, divided into retailers, suppliers and opinion-formers.
This year we have listed 100 key influencers – and brought them all into one list, pitting chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne against Tesco’s Dan Jago, TV’s Olly Smith against Australian Vintage’s Julian Dyer and Matt Douglas of Stevens Garnier against Harvey Nichols wine and spirits buyer Ivan Dixon.
The list includes those retailers – both multiples and independents – who are shaping the way consumers buy wine in the UK, alongside the suppliers who work with them to design ranges large and small, and the lobbyists, politicians, medics, commentators and broadcasters whose work regulates and informs what consumers buy.
OLN’s 100 Most Influential People In Wine list reflects the impact individuals have had on their businesses or sphere of control and the off-trade as a whole throughout the past year – and their potential to influence the course it takes in the months and years to come.
Business size, turnover and sphere of influence have all been taken into account – but we also considered innovation, originality and the importance of thought, leadership and debate on the market.
The UK wine trade has faced a tough few years, but the market remains a key destination for wine importers and consumers.
The influence of our Top 100 is likely to be felt not only here, but worldwide as the UK continues to set the trends for wine’s dynamic expansion across the globe.
The countdown begins here:
100 Nicholas Tatham MW
Wine development manager, Continental Wine & Food
99 David Cox
Chief executive, The Benevolent
98 Andrew Eakin
Director, Bottle Apostle
97 Philip Gregan
Chief executive, New Zealand Winegrowers
96 Stephen Russell
Managing director, Inverarity Morton
95 Peter Dauthieu
94 James Tanner
Managing director, Tanners Wines
93 Nick James
Managing director, Pol Roger
92 Gerard Basset
Sommelier & honorary president, WSET
91 Derek Lewis
Chair, Community Alcohol Partnerships
90 Maximilian J Riedel
Chief executive, Riedel
89 Muriel Chatel
Director, Borough Wines
88 Ruth Spivey
Founder, Wine Car Boot, wine blogger, fashion model
87 Charles Elms
Director, Free Run Wines
86 Ivan Dixon
Wine & spirits buyer, Harvey Nichols
85 Matt Douglas
Managing director, Stevens Garnier
84 Rich Andrews
Managing director, Bacardi-Martini
83 Philip Amps
Managing director, Amps Fine Wines
82 Anne Burchett
Managing director, Sopexa UK & Ireland
81 Gary Greenfield
Managing director Europe, Distell
80 Julia Trustram Eve
Marketing director, English Wine Producers
English wine has completely revamped its image over the past decade, winning fans both at home and abroad, and all the time Trustram Eve has been quietly working behind the scenes. Now her profile is on the rise with appearances at Prowein and the London Wine Fair, as English wine becomes an even firmer fixture on the retail map.
79 David Sheedy
Originally in just a few pioneering independents, Enomatic sampling machines are becoming a must-have for forward-thinking businesses and are as at home in major multiples as in small shops. Sheedy has been heading the Irish company behind them since 2010.
78 Hal Wilson
MD, Cambridge Wine Merchants
Cambridge Wine Merchants was set up in 1993 by Wilson and his friend Brett Turner, and has won numerous awards for its broad and eclectic range and innovative retail strategies. Wilson is also on the London Wine Fair advisory board.
77 Jamie Goode
Wine writer and blogger
Goode has been writing his Wine Anorak blog since 2001. He has a weekly column in the Sunday Express, has published books on wine science and his Twitter feed has more than 24,000 followers.
76 David Cameron
He may be PM but other cabinet members dictate the future in areas of health and price – though he still has the casting vote.
75 Simon Broad
Director, Ten Green Bottles
This innovative Brighton shop is often quoted in national media stories on the market.
74 Douglas Wregg
Director of sales & marketing, Les Caves de Pyrène
As the head of this innovative independent importer, agent, distributor and retailer, Wregg started out in French wine and now has a solid global portfolio.
73 Mark Lansley
MD, Broadlands Winery
UK packagers and distributors are growing their influence on wine sales and Broadlands has appointed Arabella Woodrow MW to increase its presence in this arena.
72 Dennis Whiteley
Whiteley led a management buyout a little over a year ago, backed by Barclays and one of its biggest suppliers, Piedmont co- operative Araldica Castelvero.
71 Steve Moody
Fells wields a weighty portfolio including Torres, Dow’s and Graham’s ports and Vergelegen. Moody joined its board in 1998.
70 Jamie Hutchinson
Founder, The Sampler
Past CV: Cazenove Private Equity, Apax Partners
The pioneering indie has pushed the use of sampling machines and sells more than 1,500 wines in its shops in South Kensington and Islington.
69 Ross Carter
Event director, London Wine Fair
Past CV: PLB, Mudbrick Vineyard, Pegasus Bay
Carter has completely revamped the London Wine Fair this year, moving it from Excel to Olympia, cutting prices and opening it up to smaller players.
68 Garry Brooking
Trading manager, wines beers & spirits, Marks & Spencer
Past CV: Waitrose
Brooking has taken over drinks buying for M&S after head Andrew Bird was seconded to Woolworths in South Africa.
67 Jo Wehring
UK market manager, WOSA
WOSA is one of the most active generics in the UK today. With Wehring’s energy it teamed up with Chile and Argentina to set up the successful Beautiful South Tasting, which is to run again this year.
66 Ian Harris
Past CV: Seagram UK, Martell
At the helm of the foremost wine and spirits education body in the world, Harris has been teaching the trade its business since 2002.
65 Jon Eagle
MD, Bottle Green
Past CV: Northern Foods, Fox’s Biscuits
Bottle Green has been growing its European portfolio of wines targeted either at multiples or the on-trade and independents, and had its busiest month ever last December.
64 Andrew Bewes
MD, Hallgarten Druitt and Novum Wines
Past CV: Liberty Wines, Berkmann Wine Cellars
Hallgarten Druitt has a broad global portfolio that sits alongside the eclectic range of ex-Oddbins’ Steve Daniel’s Novum Wines.
63 Helen McGinn
Writer, broadcaster, blogger
Past CV: Tesco
McGinn created the Knackered Mothers’ Wine Club blog and wrote a book based on it, while her Daily Mail column makes her a national wine personality.
62 Jeremy Rockett
MD, González Byass UK
Past CV: M&S, First Drinks Brands, One Stop
During Rockett’s tenure at González Byass the Jerez-based winery has gone from a business focusing on Tio Pepe fino and Croft cream sherry to an agency with a global portfolio of wines.
61 Tatiana Fokina
CEO, Hedonism Wines
Glitzy Hedonism Wines in London’s Mayfair was created to be “the finest wine shop there is” and Fokina has been at its helm since it opened in 2010.
60 Ruth Yates
Owner, Corks Out
Yates founded Corks Out in Chester in 2003 and has grown the business to a pioneering chain of five shops – in Alderley Edge, Stockton Heath, Timperley and Heswall – as well as an e-commerce website. The chain has a comprehensive range that is constantly being updated and a portfolio of premium spirits, as well as a range of beers from local microbreweries. Yates has been an inspiration to retailers large and small thanks to her work with other independents in sourcing wines, a new approach to retailing spirits and entrepreneurial ideas such as introducing a wine bar in one shop and a “secret wine garden” with outdoor and covered seating in another. She has even appeared on Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me, selecting wines for a special dinner party.
59 Richard Evans
Director, Dedicated Wines
Dedicated Wines is mainly dedicated to the distribution of leading Côtes du Rhône brand Cellier des Dauphins. It sells 6 million bottles a year to the UK off-trade in a market that keeps on growing. Evans is also an outspoken commentator on the market, and is keen for French wine sales to compensate for a dip in entry-level sales by moving upmarket. Les Dauphins recently launched a premium cru level, rrp £9.99, to sit above its basic, reserve and grande reserve tiers.
58 Troy Christensen
CEO, Enotria Past CV: Accolade Wines, Constellation
Christensen has just been appointed chief executive of Enotria and is moving back to the UK from the US to take on the role. He replaces Alison Levett, who is leaving the business afterseven years at the helm, during which time its revenues have grown from £52 million to £120 million. Christensen’s background at major players Accolade Wines and Constellation makes his appointment a real coup for Enotria and a sign its profile may be on the rise.
57 John Osborne
John Osborne took the helm at PLB in January, following a restructure that saw the agency split into divisions for the on-trade, wholesale, convenience and retail. Despite losing a number of its brands to rival agencies in the past year – including Montes, Trinchero, McWilliam’s and Vergelegen – PLB remains a major player in the market, selling 9 million cases of wine and beer a year and turning over some £130 million. With nearly 200 brands from all over the world and the bulk capability to create brands to retailers’ exact specifications, its influence is strong. Osborne joined PLB straight from university and was sales director from 2008.
56 Andrew Hawes
Hawes has headed up Mentzendorff for the past 10 years. The company dates back to 1858, when founder Ludwig Mentzendorff signed a deal with Jacques Bollinger to bring his Champagne to Victorian society. The company still boasts a number of prestigious brands, including Taylor’s and Croft ports, Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana, Chapoutier and Tapanappa. Hawes has become an important commentator on the state of the wine market, both in trade and in mainstream media.
55 Hugh Sturges
MD, Berry Bros & Rudd
Britain’s oldest wine merchant was hit by operating losses and a drop in turnover last year, thanks to a poor en primeur campaign. But, with more than 400 years of trading from the same shop, a royal warrant and more than 5,000 wines – including the UK’s first permanent listing from China and the exclusive on Brangelina’s Château Miraval Rosé – it can weather the odd bad year. Sturges has been managing director since 2006, and last year signed up two more Masters of Wine – Anne McHale and Demetri Walters – bringing the total number to eight. It also runs an online fine wine trading platform.
54 Clem Yates MW
Sourcing and supply director, Off-Piste Wines
Past CV: Sainsbury’s, Tesco
Off-Piste Wines makes own-labels for Asda, Sainsbury’s, the Co-op, Morrisons and Tesco as well as wielding an eclectic array of brands including Garden Route, Henry’s Drive and La Chiave. Yates, who was a winemaker at Sainsbury’s before she joined the agency in 2012, handles sourcing for the wines. Her latest project has been to team up with Cloudy Bay founder David Hohnen to launch a Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc with a New World slant.
53 Richard Macadam
CEO, United Wineries
Past CV: Oddbins
United Wineries is one of the bigger suppliers of Spanish, Italian and Argentinian wine to the UK, fielding leading brands including Berberana, Marqués de Monistrol cava, La-Vis and Canaletto, along with labels from Rioja, Tuscany and Chianti Classico. One-time Oddbins boss Macadam has been the company’s chief executive since 2012. United Wineries has moved its focus away from mature markets to target emerging ones, including Russia, China and the US. But with 40 million bottles sold worldwide each year, the company remains a major player with Macadam at its helm in Spain, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden, as well as the UK.
52 Bernard Fontannaz
CEO, Origin Wines
Swiss entrepreneur Fontannaz set up Origin as a full-service exporter of South African wines in 2002 and founded leading Fairtrade brand Fairhills in 2004. Over the years the brand has helped set up school facilities, an adult literacy programme and renovate housing in South Africa. Origin has become one of South Africa’s leading suppliers and has expanded into France, Spain and Italy as well as launching Australian brand Camden Park in the Netherlands. In November 2013 Origin took on Spanish estate Alvisa, in La Mancha, as part of its bid to become a one-stop shop for European wine, and in December it announced the opening of an office in Sweden to target the Scandinavian market. The company puts its export volume at around 85 million litres a year.
51 Patrick McGrath
MD, Hatch Mansfield
Past CV: Grants of St James’s, Victoria Wine
As fortunes rise and fall in the wine trade, Hatch Mansfield seems to motor steadily on, with a portfolio of European and New World independent, family-owned producers including such prestigious names as Champagne Taittinger and Louis Jadot. McGrath has been MD since he joined in 1994.
Who’s got the top spot? Watch this space …